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HD 6950 Unlocked vs HD 7850 oc

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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October 4, 2012 2:28:46 AM

so....I have a little dilemma. I have been looking for a GPU to put into my new pc and I've gone through a list of them all for $200-250. I have the opportunity to get a used HD 6950 Ref card with dual bios for $140, that being said is it worth getting that or a New MSI HD 7850 for $250. If I go with the used HD 6950 I could unlock to 6970 for $140 and save the $110 for a ssd or somthing else. what do you guys think? is a New 7850 worth the money? or is the older more powerful card the way to go. also feel free to suggest more cards in that range.


My specs

i5 2500k

Z77 PRO4 Mobo

Zalman Z9 plus case

8gb Corsair Vengeance blue 1600mhz

750gb 7200 seagate barracuda

coolmax 600W psu

More about : 6950 unlocked 7850

a b U Graphics card
October 4, 2012 2:35:56 AM

You can't guarantee that the 6950 will unlock (most actually don't, even from the reference models). At that price, you could go for the 6950, but if you overclock, then a 7850 can be a better choice. The worst 7850 has far higher headroom than the best 6950 and 6970 with both being air-cooled.
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a c 106 U Graphics card
October 4, 2012 2:36:45 AM

O_o, assuming you live in the US or something, 7850's should not cost 250$. 250$ is the price of a 7870
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October 4, 2012 2:38:13 AM

if unlocked and overclocked, the 6950 would as much or more powerfull then the 7850 (but also more power hungry). For 140$ the 6950 is a great deal.
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a b U Graphics card
October 4, 2012 2:38:15 AM

dudewitbow said:
O_o, assuming you live in the US or something, 7850's should not cost 250$. 250$ is the price of a 7870


In the USA, some 7870s are available for $200 :) 
7850s can go as low as $170 from what I've seen, although you have to watch out for crappy 1GB models at low prices.
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October 4, 2012 2:58:21 AM

lol I live in canada the prices and tax here are a litter more than the us. But your saying if I can find any 2 gb 7850 or even 7870 around $200 it would be better?

I can't wait until I just buy something already lol. I will probably get the 7850 or 7870 if i can find it on sale. ether way I'm getting something by the end of the weekend.
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October 4, 2012 3:26:06 AM

tythbuilder said:
lol I live in canada the prices and tax here are a litter more than the us. But your saying if I can find any 2 gb 7850 or even 7870 around $200 it would be better?

I can't wait until I just buy something already lol. I will probably get the 7850 or 7870 if i can find it on sale. ether way I'm getting something by the end of the weekend.

In canada you can find a 7870 for 230/240$ and the 7850 is around 190/200$.
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a b U Graphics card
October 4, 2012 3:48:42 AM

tythbuilder said:
so....I have a little dilemma. I have been looking for a GPU to put into my new pc and I've gone through a list of them all for $200-250. I have the opportunity to get a used HD 6950 Ref card with dual bios for $140, that being said is it worth getting that or a New MSI HD 7850 for $250. If I go with the used HD 6950 I could unlock to 6970 for $140 and save the $110 for a ssd or somthing else. what do you guys think? is a New 7850 worth the money? or is the older more powerful card the way to go. also feel free to suggest more cards in that range.


My specs

i5 2500k

Z77 PRO4 Mobo

Zalman Z9 plus case

8gb Corsair Vengeance blue 1600mhz

750gb 7200 seagate barracuda

coolmax 600W psu


I have had some problems with used cards so I wouldn't go there. Also a 7870 GHz is ~$220 and can easily beat any 6950.
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October 4, 2012 3:50:09 AM

you are right, I was just looking around Ncix.ca a few min ago and ended up grabbing a HD 7870 for $219 with $20 MIR!!! I went back to look up the card again a few min later on there site and its now going for 239.99 with $20 MIR. I guess I got the last minute deal lol. anyway I'm glad I got a new 7870. you where right it is a better card and worth spending the extra $$$ on a good card. All let you guys know how it is when I get it. BTW its the Powercolor Radeon HD 7870 1000MHZ 2GB, its not the best model out there but for the price you can't beat it can you:) 
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a b U Graphics card
October 4, 2012 3:53:14 AM

Excellent catch there. Good luck with it.
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a b U Graphics card
October 4, 2012 4:10:24 AM

It's better cooled, but only so much. It's cheap because it has a cheap fan.
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October 4, 2012 4:14:23 AM

luciferano said:
It's better cooled, but only so much. It's cheap because it has a cheap fan.

It's better then reference design and cheaper then the one he mentioned... What do you want more?
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October 4, 2012 4:17:26 AM

lol, Its not beatin for me because I like the Ref design rather than the bulbous looking thing lol. still great deal I saw that earlier but was not as intrigued. darn you Ncix for making me feel special then making everyone feel special. the powercolor card went down to 219.99 again lol. it seem so keep fluctuating
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October 4, 2012 4:18:47 AM

ohh and the Powercolor comes with more adapters :) 
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a b U Graphics card
October 4, 2012 12:45:17 PM

2260121 said:
It's better then reference design and cheaper then the one he mentioned... What do you want more?


Point was that it's not way better, just somewhat better. There's no need to downplay OP's purchase just because it turned out to not be the absolute best.
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a b U Graphics card
October 4, 2012 12:59:01 PM

The HD7000 series overclocking headroom is massive, which is why in my opinion you can't accurately compare them to Nvidia cards.
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October 4, 2012 1:00:11 PM

I've got 2 x MSI R6950 PE/OC that have been BIOS patched with OFFICIAL MSI BIOS R6970. All the MSI R6950 are guaranteed to work with the BIOS flash. I also have them overclocked to the R6970 Lighting Edition running at 940Mhz / 1375Mhz. They've been like that for about a year now and i haven't gotten a single problem. Nice thing is that the 6950 for some reason will consume about 20W less power than the R6970 Lightning.

This isn't guaranteed with the other manufacturer cards. If you're going to go with it, I would suggest though if you can try to pick up an ASUS/MSI/Gigabyte version of the 6950 because these specific manufacturers use the highest performing heatsinks which will keep the cards temp down and guarantee a safe flash.

official procedure by MSI:
http://www.vortez.net/articles_pages/msi_r6950_twin_fro...

It's a big performance boost, i got something like 15% boost from the original clocks which were 850Mhz / 1300Mhz. Transfer bandwidth is where i really made out which was like 20% boost.
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a b U Graphics card
October 4, 2012 1:03:20 PM

mafisometal said:
I've got 2 x MSI R6950 PE/OC that have been BIOS patched with OFFICIAL MSI BIOS R6970. All the MSI R6950 are guaranteed to work with the BIOS flash. I also have them overclocked to the R6970 Lighting Edition running at 940Mhz / 1375Mhz. They've been like that for about a year now and i haven't gotten a single problem. Nice thing is that the 6950 for some reason will consume about 20W less power than the R6970 Lightning.

This isn't guaranteed with all cards. I would suggest though if you can try to pick up an ASUS/MSI/Gigabyte version of the 6950 because these specific manufacturers use the highest performing heatsinks which will keep the cards temp down and guarantee a safe flash.

official procedure by MSI:
http://www.vortez.net/articles_pages/msi_r6950_twin_fro...


Don't forget, AMD stopped making GPUs that support the flashing well before Radeon 7xxx came out. Unless you know the production number of the GPU in the 6950 that OP is considering, we have no way of knowign if it has one of the newer, non-unlocking GPUs. Even cards of the models that used to be *guaranteed* to unlock stopped unlocking after AMD stopped making Caymans that support it.
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October 4, 2012 1:05:27 PM

luciferano said:
Don't forget, AMD stopped making GPUs that support the flashing well before Radeon 7xxx came out. Unless you know the production number of the GPU in the 6950 that OP is considering, we have no way of knowign if it has one of the newer, non-unlocking GPUs. Even cards of the models that used to be *guaranteed* to unlock stopped unlocking after AMD stopped making Caymans that support it.


true, but MSI states that your warranty won't void if you do this because it's "official". Also, MSI stopped making the 6-series since AMD stop producing Caymans, so if you purchase one of them, it WILL work.

EDIT:
When i initialy purchased the cards, i had a defective one before i did the BIOS flash and they gave me the last revision of the 6950. SO my second card has no BIOS switch and it worked fine.

Pretty much if your 6-series has no BIOS switch, you have a final revision model.
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a b U Graphics card
October 4, 2012 1:12:42 PM

mafisometal said:
true, but MSI states that your warranty won't void if you do this because it's "official". Also, MSI stopped making the 6-series since AMD stop producing Caymans, so if you purchase one of them, it WILL work.

EDIT:
When i initialy purchased the cards, i had a defective one before i did the BIOS flash and they gave me the last revision of the 6950. SO my second card has no BIOS switch and it worked fine.

Pretty much if your 6-series has no BIOS switch, you have a final revision model.


That's very inaccurate. I've known several 6950 models that had BIOS switches and unlocked perfectly. I've had the opposite as well.

You are not reading what I' saying. The last like six to twelve months of Cayman production didn't disable the locked cores in the BIOS, they had the disabled cores destroyed by laser die-harvesting to eliminate unlocking.
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October 4, 2012 1:23:26 PM

luciferano said:
That's very inaccurate. I've known several 6950 models that had BIOS switches and unlocked perfectly. I've had the opposite as well.

You are not reading what I' saying. The last like six to twelve months of Cayman production didn't disable the locked cores in the BIOS, they had the disabled cores destroyed by laser die-harvesting to eliminate unlocking.


i read your comment clearly. MSI states that ALL their 6950 WILL work with their official BIOS flash. They say that they had failures only because of the user not following procedure. the one i picked up is a specific model its the "Twin Frozr III R6950 OC/PE" which only used the full GPU. i've read their entire article thoroughly, and i've even called their tech support about it. The entire article is based only on that specific model. I believe they made the TF II R6950 Model, TF III, and the TF III OC/PE model,
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a b U Graphics card
October 4, 2012 1:27:52 PM

mafisometal said:
i read your comment clearly. FACT is that MSI only made the R6950 with the full GPU and not the lasered off GPU. MSI states that ALL their 6950 WILL work with their official BIOS flash. i've read their entire article thoroughly, and i've even called their tech support about it. They say that they had failures only because of the user not following procedure. the one i picked up is a specific model its the "Twin Frozr III R6950 OC/PE" which only used the full GPU.


Sapphire said the same thing, yet their 6950s suddenly stopped unlocking anyway. All of the Caymans in the 6950s are Cayman Pros, so saying full Cayman makes no sense.
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October 4, 2012 1:30:18 PM

luciferano said:
Sapphire said the same thing, yet their 6950s suddenly stopped unlocking anyway. All of the Caymans in the 6950s are Cayman Pros, so saying full Cayman makes no sense.


Show me the article that states Sapphire officially giving out their BIOS and stating a guarantee on it working. And i mean a real 6950 unlock BIOS from Sapphire themselves, not the 6970 BIOS ported to the 6950. Those are two completely separate things, the techpowerup site post is a port, not an official BIOS.
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a b U Graphics card
October 4, 2012 2:25:01 PM

mafisometal said:
Show me the article that states Sapphire officially giving out their BIOS and stating a guarantee on it working. And i mean a real 6950 unlock BIOS from Sapphire themselves, not the 6970 BIOS ported to the 6950. Those are two completely separate things, the techpowerup site post is a port, not an official BIOS.


Unlocking BIOS for 6950 or ported 6970 BIOS doesn't change the GPU's physical properties at all. Unless MSI somehow had AMD giving them older Cayman Pros until the end, their latest cards would also not all unlock because it is a hardware, not BIOS, problem. You couldn't unlock them anymore than you can make the card suddenly turn into a 384 bit, 3GB 6950. I'll see if I can find any of those articles about Sapphire.
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a b U Graphics card
October 5, 2012 12:41:18 AM

tythbuilder said:
you are right, I was just looking around Ncix.ca a few min ago and ended up grabbing a HD 7870 for $219 with $20 MIR!!! I went back to look up the card again a few min later on there site and its now going for 239.99 with $20 MIR. I guess I got the last minute deal lol. anyway I'm glad I got a new 7870. you where right it is a better card and worth spending the extra $$$ on a good card. All let you guys know how it is when I get it. BTW its the Powercolor Radeon HD 7870 1000MHZ 2GB, its not the best model out there but for the price you can't beat it can you:) 


Honestly all 7870's around 1000 MHz are the about the same. They are all AWESOME!
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October 5, 2012 4:24:20 PM

luciferano said:
In the USA, some 7870s are available for $200 :) 
7850s can go as low as $170 from what I've seen, although you have to watch out for crappy 1GB models at low prices.

damn... and I've paid 300$ for my msi 7850 2gb... *** you VAT
I could've got a gtx670 in your country right? or 7950/7970
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a b U Graphics card
October 5, 2012 7:18:16 PM

mrbeanladen said:
damn... and I've paid 300$ for my msi 7850 2gb... *** you VAT
I could've got a gtx670 in your country right? or 7950/7970


$300 is too low for a 670. However, there's a Galaxy 670 that goes for around $340-350 every time I look :)  Some of the good 7950s go for under $300 (I've seen them as low as $270 AR, but some deals seem to get a little lower every week or two), so you could have gotten a good 7950 here in the USA. I've seen some 7850 2GB cards for around $170 lately.
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